“And with your spirit”: the ecumenical future?

Because I spend entirely too much time on the internet, I happened to come across the new Rite of Ordination of the Anglican Church in North America, which is a group that has in recent years separated itself from the Episcopal Church. Imagine my surprise to find before the opening collect:

The Lord be with you.

And with your spirit.

Given that ACNA is, as I understand it, fairly evangelical, I can’t imagine this is Roman influence. But it is interesting to ponder what influence, if any, the new English translations of the Missal will have on other Christian communities as they revise their liturgies in the future.


  1. The “new ecumenism,” I guess: The convergence or at least mutual support and admiration of conservative Christianity generally.

    And yet, I’d be happy to use “and with your spirit” in the regular Episcopal Church “Rite Two”- it’s just that with two Rites or forms should I say, a congregation neeeds to be able to use a different response for each or it becomes confusing and distracting. Since both forms are in English, of course.

  2. Based on the language of the preface, I would not base this on “Roman” influence but rather an effort to blend the Rite One language (which preserved Cranmer’s thees and thys) and Rite Two which uses the modern you. Certainly a parallel development, and interesting to observe!

  3. They need to consult Scripture for the correct response.

    Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The LORD be with you!” “The LORD bless you!” they called back. (Rut 2:4 NIV)

  4. ‘And with your spirit’ is a perfectly defensible translation, and I have no problems using its equivalents in other languages. Maybe, as Deacon Fritz suggests, there’s an ecumenical convergence happening despite everything (including the blatant ignoring of other churches in the RC withdrawal from agreed texts).

    Nevertheless I cannot welcome its imposition. The change is obnoxious for three reasons:
    1. ‘And also with you’ is equally defensible, and things should not be changed in the liturgy, especially the ordinary, unless it’s clearly for the better. One of 1998’s many virtues was its recognition of this principle.
    2. The catechesis-ideology being trotted out by official sources to legitimate the shift draws on scripture and tradition in ways that are quite unpersuasive unless you are antecedently convinced on other grounds about the need to accentuate the special presence of the Spirit in the ordained. We deserve more reputable forms of discussion.
    3. The way in which the shift has been foisted on us evinces a clear setting-aside of any non-Stalinist version of collegiality. As such, it represents a betrayal of the Council. It is only because of the Council, and its retrieval of the best of tradition from behind the distortions of the Reformation era, that it is possible to be a Catholic today with intellectual and moral integrity. Every celebration of the eucharist will be throwing authoritarian obscurantism in our faces. This is a scandal, and it is only a travesty of loyalty and obedience that would claim anything else.

  5. The only bit of wisdom in Endean’s post: ” things should not be changed in the liturgy, especially the ordinary, unless it’s clearly for the better”.

    When the Mass was first translated into English, the people did respond with “And with your/thy spirit”. Unfortunately, ICEL decided to fix something that wasn’t broken, so now we have the angst of changing that again.

    By the way, don’t the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches also translate that response as “And with your/thy spirit”? Surely there is ecumenical rapproachment on that side too with the revised, corrected Missal translation.

  6. At least in the UK we had ‘and with you’–the rhythmically happy ‘also’ was added in 1970.

  7. Then again, some of ACNA’s member churches hold great store by the 1928 BCP, which uses “And with thy spirit.” (Don’t forget Rite 1, 1979.)

  8. @Simon

    The Eastern Rite, according to our bi-ritual priest, does indeed use “and with your spirit”. So do the French, with whom we share a parish.

    In discussing the changes with our priest, he commented that it all sounds very much like what the Eastern Rite says.

    Which makes me think we will increase our ability to breath with both lungs.

  9. ‘And with you also’ is but one of a host of malapropos locutions and non-translations with which we have been saddled for so many, many years. I have always been dumbfounded at how people spoke these deliberately pale shadows, including collects that were not all there, of the Latin originals with a straight face. When I was yet an Episcopalian I thought it an affront that our new prayerbook adopted this Roman atrocity in rite ii. Now that I am an Anglican Use Catholic, we must still use it in the BDW’s rite ii – at least in the single one of our parishes which uses that rite. Otherwise, Catholics are now delivered of it, and Episcopalians are left holding the bag. Further, it seems to me that we should much prefer to merge somewhat with Eastern Rite usage than that of our Protestant brethren.
    But, I do agree in principle with Fr Endean’s assesssment of the value of Vatican II as a corrective to some of the Reformation era ‘distortions’ and its enabling of one to be a Catholic today with ‘intellectual and moral integrity’.

  10. But it is interesting to ponder what influence, if any, the new English translations of the Missal will have on other Christian communities as they revise their liturgies in the future.

    Well it is certainly not “new” for Confessional Lutherans. Even Divine Service III in the new Lutheran Service Book retains the response “and with THY (not “your”) Spirit which is exactly what I knew when I was growing up Lutheran and most Lutherans used a form of the old Common Service, so the “revised” Mass translation is very familiar territory for me and much more ecumenically viable.

  11. The use of “And with your spirit” is traceable to the first English Prayer Book of 1549 and the influence of the late Peter Toon. Archbishop Cranmer used elements from the Medieval Sarum rite and elements of the Lutheran church orders in compiling the 1549 book. Toon substituted it as the response to “The Lord be with you” in the Anglican Mission in America’s trial services and the AMiA’s An Anglican Prayer Book (2008), which he edited. He explains his rationale for using it in both books. “Evangelical” is not really an accurate description of the Anglican Church in North America. The two dominant theological streams that have emerged in the ACNA are traditionalist Anglo-Catholics influenced by 19th century Oxford and Cambridge Camden Movements and the “three streams, one river” ideologues influenced by the 20th century charismatic Convergence movement and Robert Webber and the Ancient Future worship renewal movement. The latter group is receptive to Catholic doctrine and practice.

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